Sleep experts say more than 30 percent of Americans suffer from insomnia, meaning they frequently have trouble sleeping.
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Unfortunately, if that problem isn’t remedied, it can lead to lower productivity, grumpy moods and depression, among other things. One of the main reasons why many people have difficulty drifting off is they find their heads full of thoughts.
Many of those musings are related to past regrets or fears about the future. Chances are many of the things that have kept you awake at night are either things you had no control over, things that never ended up happening, or both. If you can train your mind to clear away all those troublesome thoughts, you’ll be able to sleep better rather than dwelling on the things that clutter your head.
Keep reading to learn more.
Why Is It So Hard To Get To Sleep?
If you’re like a lot of people who have trouble getting shut-eye, the thoughts that pop into your head are related to your deepest fears. Why does that happen? Those thoughts come to mind because the brain is trying to protect us against what could happen, the impending doom that we perceive.
Of course, it’s useful to think logically about real problems we face, but most of the time the things that preoccupy us at night are thoughts borne from extremes and not based entirely in reality.
Retrain Your Brain
The key is retraining your brain so it understands you really should be sleeping rather than feeling consumed with worry. Giving yourself permission to unwind and knowing that you truly don’t accomplish many productive things by lying awake at night feeling tense and uncertain goes a long way.
However, you can’t learn those concepts in a day or two. Retraining your mind so it stays clear of those destructive and distracting thoughts is an ongoing process, and one that should go more smoothly if you’re committed to making diligent efforts toward real changes.
You may be wondering how to go about clearing your mind of all the things that are worrying you. Many people get great results when they try meditation, even if just practicing it for a short time. Give yourself five to 10 minutes and sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. Focus as much as you can on your breathing.
When worrisome thoughts come into your head, chase them away and refuse to get distracted by simply continuing to focus on your breathing. If you find it impossible to ignore your worries entirely, try to view them from an outsider’s perspective. You can tell yourself that you’re aware the worries are there, but are refusing to let them dominate your mind.
Tap Into Gratitude
Worries often seem especially intense when life is very stressful and it feels like everything is out of control. During those times, it can be very tempting to go into panic mode and start to feel like absolutely everything possible is going wrong.
Whenever you’re lying in bed and dreading what the next day might bring, change your mind set by gently forcing yourself to think of one thing for which you are grateful every time a negative thought comes into your head. That should help you maintain a more positive perspective and allow you to see that things perhaps aren’t quite as bad as they first seemed.
Hopefully these techniques will help you avoid having thoughts racing through your head when you’re trying to get some rest. In addition to giving them a try, avoid things that might contribute to your overactive mind, such as nightly news programs or movies with complex plots right before bedtime.